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HomeEquipmentEquipment NewsNHAI plans 2.79-km-long tunnel in Chhattisgarh's Keshkal valley

NHAI plans 2.79-km-long tunnel in Chhattisgarh’s Keshkal valley

If everything goes right, construction of the 2.79 km stretch tunnel, the biggest in Chhattisgarh, falling in the 464 km six-lane road connecting Raipur to Visakhapatnam under the Bharatmala Project will be initiated soon.

If everything goes right, construction of the 2.79-km-long tunnel, the biggest in Chhattisgarh, falling in the 464km six-lane road connecting Raipur to Visakhapatnam under the Bharatmala Project will be initiated soon.

The construction agency, which has been awarded the contract for the project by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), has initiated a survey for the construction of a tunnel in the hills of Keshkal valley, situated at a distance of 168 km from the state capital Raipur in Kondagaon district of Bastar, at a different level and applied for the forest and environment clearance.

The travel time from Raipur to Visakhapatnam will reduce to 7 hours from around 13 hours after the construction of the 124 stretches of the Bharatmala Road falling in Chhattisgarh along with the tunnel.

“We have submitted a proposal to the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) for the clearance to carry out the construction of the ten-kilometre road passing through the buffer zone of the Udanti-Sitanadi tiger reserve. A meeting of the NBWL is likely to be held this month’s end and I am hopeful of getting the clearance. Moreover, environmental clearance from the ministry of environment, forest and climate change is also needed to start the runnel project. We are hopeful of starting work on the tunnel in March as work will remain closed after June with the onset of monsoon,” said NHAI project manager Abhinav Singh.

There is a plan to complete all the activities related to the tunnel and the road construction within a period of two years, but it all depends on the clearance of the forest and environment department.

Moreover, many other departments are involved in the project and their approval is also equally important.

“It all depends upon the appointed date which can be confirmed after the NBWL meeting in Delhi,” he said.

There are 12 dangerous turns in Keshkal valley which often lead to mishaps which can be avoided after the construction of the tunnel and the movement of heavy vehicles will be easy.

Meanwhile, a geophysical investigation carried out by a team of expert-led by Geo Scientist Professor (Dr) Ninad Bodhankar from Pt Ravishankar Shukla University as part of the project revealed that the Keshkal hills, which have hard rocks, are well settled and blasts at the opening and closing ends will only lead to losing the soil. There are cracks in the rocks. There is seepage in the rocks of the hills which gives a balance, but when artificial holes are made, it accelerates the seepage.

“We have submitted our report to the Kolkata-based company which has asked us to study the geological formation, consistency, existence and alignment of the hills.

We carried out scanning on a 3-km stretch of the hills and structure mapping. Overall, there is no threat to tunnel-like Joshi Math which is situated at the Himalayan plateau and very sloppy,” said Dr Bodhankar.

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